In these uncertain times, a record number of moms will go back to college this fall to advance current careers, find new job options, and seize opportunities to contribute more to household finances during a recession. In fact, Kaplan University has seen a 34% increase in moms enrolling first quarter of 2009 versus just a year ago.
How do the families of college moms cope? A group of courageous moms at Kaplan University (http://www.portal.kaplan.edu/), where nearly 75% of students are women and the average student age is 34, share their tips for juggling family, work and school in a Web 2.0 world. These moms have recently graduated from or are currently enrolled in the following programs: Bachelor of Science in Management, Bachelor of Arts in Communications, Master of Science in Nursing Education, Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting and Dental Assisting Diploma.
1. Gain the support of friends and family. We all need cheerleaders to successfully accomplish the many things moms do in any single day.
2. When you go back to school supply shopping for the kids, don’t forget your own supplies for online studying like printer ink and paper, a spare battery pack for the laptop and flash drives.
3. Prepare meals for the week on Sunday. Whether it’s a hearty soup, lasagna or a casserole, make meals that are filling and easy to take out of the freezer and reheat quickly.
4. Work as a team. Show the kids that running a family requires team effort and that your schoolwork is important too. Let them pitch in to help out with family chores.
5. Remind your significant other that he may need to brush up on his math and science skills because you will need him to help the kids out with homework.
6. Before you sit at your computer, take 15 minutes to do some stretching and/or a few sit-ups. Get the adrenaline pumping so that you are ready to commit to a few solid hours to studying and homework.
7. Instill in your children the value of making sacrifices. Teach them that hard work has positive results.
8. For those single moms or stay at home moms who sometimes have to do it alone, it’s ok to occasionally let the television be the babysitter when you have deadlines to meet. Don’t be too worried about it, as public and cable television have great, quality programs throughout the day that are educational.
9. Keep the faith. Everyone has their ups and downs, and sometimes, there are more downs than ups. At the end of the day you can still do this. Remind yourself how much your education means to you and of the future benefits it will bring to your entire family.
10. Plan some alone time, even if it’s a 20 minute soak in the tub to relax after the children are in bed.
11. If you have an infant at home, read your text book out loud. You’ll get your course reading done and soothe the baby to sleep at the same time.
12. Initiate a mutual reward system with your children. If they receive an A on a test, they get to pick a prize from mom. If mom gets the A, she gets to pick a prize from the kids!
(Recent Kaplan University graduate Karrie of Zimmerman, MN who is a single mom to five and also an eight year military veteran.)